More details are coming out on the new proposed collective bargaining agreement for the NFL and its players. And, a report Friday says that the 17 game in the regular season schedule will be a neutral field, international games for every team.
NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported Friday morning that for fairness and schedule balance, the extra game will favor neither team:
Some added details on CBA being voted on by players today:
—Playoff expansion is pretty much tied to CBA approval. So likely no expansion this year if players don’t approve the deal.
—17th game wouldn’t be an international game for every team. Would be a cap on total intl games.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 21, 2020
As it stands right now, the NFL is committed to play at least four games in London each year for its “International Series.” They have done this in each of the last two years. The league is also committed to playing in Mexico City, where are the Chiefs and the Chargers played a Monday Night Football game a year ago.
The NFL has also previously played Buffalo Bills home games in Toronto during the regular season in the last decade.
While Garafolo didn’t get specific details, it appears that the NFL will now play 16 games involving the 32 teams on the international neutral fields.
Of course, as it relates to our state, the Jaguars already have an annual series where they play home games in London. Further, owner Shahid Khan just announced earlier this month that they will be adding a second home game off their Jacksonville schedule in London starting this fall.
That was meant by considerable outrage by the Jaguars fan base, as it takes a second game off of their season ticket.
The Buccaneers just play division rival Carolina at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a year ago (above), and the Dolphins last played in London against the Saints in the 2017 season.
It had been rumored that the NFL was looking to play as many as eight games in London annually, as soon as possible. It will be easy to see that the NFL varies up the combination and rotation of games between the U.K., Mexico and potentially again, in Canada to help accommodate the 16 total new games being added to the schedule.
When the CBA is ratified, it will be the first time the NFL increases its regular season since the league went from 14 to 16 regular season games in 1978. While this is not expected to go into effect for the 2020 schedule, it is believed that the 17 game schedule with each franchise playing an international game could come into play as soon as 2021.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the league will now have an extra postseason team make the playoffs from each conference. And, that means there will be three NFC and three AFC Wildcard playoff games on the first weekend each January. That could happen as soon as this season, depending on ratification of the new deal.
Under this scenario, only the top-seeded team in each conference would receive a bye the first week and there would be three Wild Card teams pitted against the three division winners. It’s also unclear if the NFL will change the format of allowing division winners, regardless of record, to be able to host play off games. There has been considerable complaining from fans, media and teams about division winners sometimes having 2-3 or sometimes more fewer wins than the Widcard team that they are hosting.